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Natural Awakenings North Central New Jersey

Tackling Ticks in the Schoolyard

Sep 03, 2014 03:07PM ● By Jennifer Molzen

As the summer starts to wind down, we find ourselves shifting gears. One of the most telling signs of the change in season is children back at school, their voices once again heard in schoolyards and on playing fields. While the school environment may be more structured than that of backyards or other areas in which kids spend a lot of time during summer vacation, there’s one unwanted visitor who still feels right at home—and children and parents alike need to continue their vigilance.

Ticks are not particular about where they find their next meal as long as it is in their preferred habitat. Sadly, the habitats of ticks and children overlap all too often. The heaviest concentrations of ticks are found where the lawn meets the brush line and in taller wood-line vegetation. This type of habitat exists in many backyards but it can also be found in school playgrounds and local parks.

It’s important for children at parks and sporting events to pay particular attention to where team benches and bleachers are located. These should be at least 20 feet away from brush lines.  A simple action like retrieving a soccer ball or baseball from a brush line could put a child in close proximity to a tick.The same applies for parents in terms of where they place chairs to watch a game.

During recess, kids may play catch, tag, hide and seek and sit in the grass. Children love to make forts out of low-lying branches and gravitate towards brush and trees.  These areas are more likely to have ticks, who like shady areas where the humidity level is higher. Using materials such as pea gravel or cedar mulch chips under play units and around park paths helps keep moisture levels down.

While the majority of tick-borne illnesses are contracted in the summer months, a tick bite any time of the year is just as dangerous. It is important to talk to your child about the threat of tick bites and let them know that they can be bitten not only at home but at school and on a school’s sports fields. Know where your child is playing while at school or sporting events and be sure to perform a daily tick check: It’s the best way to prevent tick bites.

Jennifer Molzen is the founder of Tick Tackler, LLC. The company specializes in organic residential tick control. For more information, call 908-612-4736, email [email protected] or visit

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